I've now played 4 player, 3 player, and 2 player St Pete, all without looking at the Geek for advice.
OK, sure, everyone knows that the Aristocrats are powerful, just like everyone knows that Jesters are the most powerful in Princes of Florence. In PoF, the result is that Jesters are bid up high enough to even out the difference. Here, this means that the other main strategy of buying buildings just isn't going to work except in fluky circumstances (I would have to say: 4 player and fierce competition for aristocrats).
Nothing in the games I've played has lent itself to fierce competitions, yet, however. We've all been pretty much playing solitaire. OK, sometimes you take a card I want, big deal. I am hoping that, like PR, as we get better, we will know more about what to take. Still, I can only feel that the game would be a tad better if a) there was some auctioning for the items (e.g. a third row for items not bought in the second row) and b) the turn sequence was chosen by the players, ala Puerto Rico, and c) VP's paid off one more time at game end, which basically fizzles right now.
Still enjoying the ride.
I just went and looked at the Geek. Seems like everyone is harping on the Observatory as a great buy. Makes some sense. I'll try it out next time. I'm still trying to figure out how to manage my money.